Princeton SA U16 Boys Visit Bermuda - April 2012
Blue skies and turquoise water surround the island of Bermuda, but it was the green soccer fields that were the interest of the Princeton Soccer Association (PSA) Premier U16 Boys team as they arrived in Bermuda for the start of the Clyde Best Soccer Festival. Within two hours of arrival, the team got down to business for its first training session at the National Academy training center, and it was clear from the start that the boys were focused and ready to play.
After getting in two solid training sessions under the guidance of Coaches John Newman and John Saunders, the PSA boys opened up Friday night against Bermuda’s North Village Rams U16s and came away with a solid 7-2 victory—sending a clear warning to the other clubs that they were going to be competitive. Ryan Kaplan and Leo Canino led the team with two goals apiece, and Kevin Molnar, Tommy Timmerman and Chris Wood each chipped in with goals to round out the scoring. After conceding two first half goals, the defense stiffened up to shut North Village down in the second half.
The second day saw a more competitive match as PSA entertained another local Bermuda team, the PHC Zebras FC, which it shut down in a dominating 2-0 performance. The defense was the story of the day as Stephen Werner, Reese Peterson, Gus Ortega, Daniel Stockburger and Jay de la Bandera closed down the PHC Zebra attack, giving Matt Weigner his first shut out of the tournament. Tommy Timmerman and Leo Canino provided the goals as PSA again imposed its will on the game and earned its second win of the tourney.
This set up a final match against the Bermuda Football Association National Academy U16 team on the National Sports Centre main stadium field. Both teams earned their places in the final, coming in with identical 2-0 records and showing strong offensive and defensive strengths in their first two games. With 500 spectators on hand, the audience was treated to a competitive match with both teams having a number of good scoring opportunities. In this hard-fought match, the midfield showed its persistence and hard work with Gavin Coutts, Kevin Molnar, Christian Oliviera and Julian Antal each giving a strong effort. This allowed PSA to control long portions of the match and demonstrated how well the team complemented the athleticism and talent of the Bermuda National Youth team. In the end, it was a second-half goal off the head of Sam Button that was the difference which gave the Jersey boys the well-deserved 1-0 win. It was also the second clean sheet for Matt Weigner and the Princeton defense, earning them a perfect 3-0 record in the tournament.
The PSA U16 Boys team left the tournament with more than an impressive record: They built life-long memories and friendships in a country with deep roots in the sport of soccer and stong ties to both West Ham United and the Barclay’s Premier League, thanks to Clyde Best. A man of world renown, Best was instrumental in opening doors in England for all walks of life both on and off the soccer field. Now, those same doors have been opened for the boys of PSA’s U16 team.